What happens when you get four students with no lighting background to configure your system?
At Helvar, our raison d’être is to create solutions that save time, energy and money. We’re proud of their impact on people’s wellbeing, and the sustainability of smart buildings around the world.
When it comes to lighting, an intelligent wireless solution can be particularly easy to setup, and we’ve long been communicating the benefits of using truly intelligent wireless technology to light up your spaces.
But how can we, as a provider of an award-winning wireless lighting control system, really prove our point?
By testing it with students that have no lighting experience, of course! We asked ourselves: “could it really be that simple?” and concluded that apart from a practical test, there was really no way to tell. Lighting professionals might well find it easy, but what about students from different disciplines?
In order for the challenge to go smoothly, we needed to find a suitable testing ground. Since we had a limited amount of time to introduce the principles of lighting controls and the wireless solution itself, we had to choose an environment that was as clear and condensed as possible, one that would allow the students to focus on only the task at hand.
As such, using a whole office floor was out of the question; we had to think a little smaller. And with a stroke of luck, we remembered that we have a dollhouse for solution demonstrations at fairs and exhibitions! After a quick update to the dollhouse, our ‘testing ground’ was good to go; complete with three different areas where the lighting could be configured (a meeting room, an auxiliary room and a parking garage).
Task 1: Configuring a parking garage
In the first task, the objective was to identify the parking garage luminaires and group them into two overlapping groups, with the luminaire at the center of the garage being part of both.
In practice, this is done for the purpose of creating enough light ahead of a moving car, while still not turning on huge areas at once. Once movement is detected by a sensor that is shared between the first and second group, it will activate the second group as well, resulting in an energy efficient and user-friendly way to achieve good lighting in spaces like parking garages. Overlapping groups are possible with Helvar ActiveAhead thanks to Nodes that support multiple groups.
In the video, we can see that the student found the task to be quite straightforward. Because the luminaires were embedded in a miniature dollhouse, all with a similar distance from the mobile phone, identifying them was little less obvious than it would have been with real luminaires in the ceiling with normal distances between them. Luckily, we don’t configure dollhouses too often!
Task 2: Configuring a meeting room
For this task, the objective was to set up a wireless wall panel with four different functions for a meeting room.
In practice, setting up different lighting scenes allows end users to easily adjust the lighting to task-specific requirements. For example, a “presentation” scene could dim the lighting near a screen to increase readability, or a “focus” scene can use bright white light to sharpen people’s concentration.
The second challenge was a smooth success: by using a configuration app with a clean and intuitive interface, the student had little trouble with adjusting settings for the different scenes. Activating the panel itself was done with a simple tap.
Task 3: Personal control
The third task involved tweaking the colour temperature and setting up a personal control feature for the lighting in a specific room.
At times, even with different scenes available and the possibility for intelligent lighting to adjust automatically to daylight and other factors, a personal level of control could still be needed. For example, people of different ages need different amounts of light, and different tasks could also require different lighting. This need is highlighted in recommendations provided by lighting standards such as EN-12464-1; thus, modern lighting systems should make personal control as simple as possible!
Lighting control is by no means an easy subject, yet, even with just a quick introduction, the student was able to successfully complete the challenge with the ActiveAhead mobile app! How do you think you’d manage?
Task 4: Configuring multiple floors
In our final task, the goal was to configure the lighting parameters across the entire office and parking space respectively, by targeting the updates to defined parts of the network.
In practice, network level operations allow you to configure a broad set of luminaires across your spaces in one go, saving you time from having to configure groups or lights individually. A change request for a project can often impact all the luminaires in a certain type of space. For example, there may be a need to lower light output levels in all corridors or shorten the timeouts in all meeting rooms. With Helvar ActiveAhead, performing these kinds of changes is easy and efficient.
After familiarising with the app layout, it didn’t take long for the eager student to find the Network section and get to work. Network level operations are arguably one of the trickier concepts to grasp for a beginner, yet, with the right tools and a clear set of instructions, the student concluded that it was “easier than it seems”!
After celebrating the filming session with some pizza, the students and Helvar team went home for some hard-earned rest.
While the challenge was by no means a rigorous scientific experiment, our team was nonetheless thrilled; we’ve just witnessed four people with no prior knowledge successfully configure a lighting system! If these challenge videos are not a testament to the simplicity and ease-of-use of our ActiveAhead solution, we don’t know what else could be. Intelligent wireless lighting is a lot more accessible than you might think!